One of the key reasons The Jitter Bean Coffee Company has become a local success story is largely due to the amazing employees that we have been able to find, train, and have on our team. Likely because of the flexibility of our business, we have a lot of employees who are college age, which Humboldt County has an enormous resource of thanks to the university and junior college population that constantly feeds local businesses like ours with fresh, young talent. Therefore, competition for fun, flexible, part time jobs can be challenging and often frustrating. Job seekers can be left scratching their heads as to why they weren’t selected for a job – or even asked to come in for an interview. After 15 years of interviewing, hiring, and training some incredible people, as well as observing some often times comical exploits from ill prepared individuals, I decided I might be able to share a few insights from an employer’s perspective that could help change that challenging process of finding a job into a successful job hunt.
1. Applying for the Job: Always remember that the interview process starts the moment you walk in the door to ask for an application or to drop off your resume. Whoever you meet, whether it is the business owner, the manager, or “just” an employee of the company, you are immediately being assessed as to whether you are a fit for the potential job. Your first impression with whoever that individual is likely THE key to whether you get to the next phase of the employment process. If she/he likes you, they are likely to promote your application to the next person in the hiring chain. Be sure to be on your “A game” from this moment forward. Dress appropriately, act professionally, and be courteous and friendly. Make sure your first impression is a good one to any company representative you meet, or your employment opportunity could be doomed before your resume or application gets to the one who makes the hiring decisions.
2. Resume & Communication: Be sure to be accurate and be accessible with any information you provide. It is amazing how many times we have tried to contact someone from a resume only to find that their phone number isn’t correct, or their voice mail box is full, or they simply do not return the phone call in a timely manner (or at all). Communication from the beginning of your potential employer-employee relationship is vital. Follow up is essential.
3. Schedule and Availability: Since you are applying for part time employment, be sure to have an accurate time line ready for when you can and cannot be available to work. If you are only providing small windows of time at random times of the day, that is not likely to be appealing to a potential employer. Ideally, consistent times during the week and larger (4+ hours) windows of availability will be most helpful. Too many changes in your daily schedule can be a nightmare for an employer to fit you into their hiring needs. Additionally, if you prefer a certain day off like the all-coveted weekend days, remember that it is especially important as a part time employee to remain flexible if the business is operational on these days.
4. Interview Preparedness: If you are lucky enough to be invited to an in-person interview, make sure you are prepared in every way. If you are not familiar with the meetings location, be sure to have the address and show up early (or even scout it out a day or two before) just to make sure you are on time (and “on time” always means at least 5 minutes early! Never, ever be late for an interview. You are likely to lose the job opportunity on that one mistake). Be professional. Respect your potential employer by dressing appropriately and as though you genuinely want the job
5. The Interview: During the interview, be sure to be focused. Remove any distractions. Put your phone away. Put your keys away. Do not chew gum. Put your purse on the floor next to you. Do not fidget. Be engaged in the conversation. Do your best to relax and keep eye contact with your interviewer(s) as much as possible. Be sure to respond to questions with enough information to allow the interviewer to get to know you, but do not ramble on and on. If you have questions about the position or the company, be sure to ask those as the conversation allows. You need to know if this job is something that not only fits the employer’s needs, but that it will genuinely be a good fit for what you need too.
At the conclusion of the interview, be sure to thank the interviewer for their time and the opportunity to meet with them. If she/he have not told you what the next step will be, do not hesitate to ask if you should anticipate a call from them or if they would like you to check back. Sending a thank you note to the interviewer can be a nice way to make yourself stand out from other candidates and can serve as a positive reminder to the interviewer of you after having potentially interviewed multiple other candidates. If you do not receive a call from the company within a few days, take the initiative and call them yourself to ask about the status of your resume, letting them know that you are still very interested in the position if it has not been filled.
Hopefully you only have to go through this process once and you are one of the fortunate few who get your much-coveted, part-time, dream job, but it is likely you will be going through this process or a portion thereof many times before you hear “you are hired!” Your perseverance will pay off.
Happy job hunting, and good luck!
Owner and Operator of Jitter Bean Coffee Co.